Tutor in a home based classroom

Tutors who travel – an advantage or a disadvantage?

I’ve been tutoring for twelve years. When I first started up, I had a couple of my own students but I mostly worked through an agency. The benefits the agency sold were that if you asked for a tutor, they would send you someone with appropriate qualifications, and that they would send someone to your home and at your convenience.

I found that I spent most of my precious teaching time, I had a young family and could only work when I had a babysitter, sitting in the car in heavy traffic. People typically wanted tutors between 5pm and 7pm – to coincide with rush hour.

I very quickly limited the distance I would travel. After a couple of years, and with growing confidence in my ability to tutor and get results that parents wanted, I stopped travelling all together and set up at home in my kitchen. Rather than seeing two students a night, I could see three in the same time. Working at home had its disadvantages, the low noise of the TV in the next room, the “mum, can I have…” heads around the door, and on one occasion, projectile vomiting down the stairs.

Now I’ve moved house, my priority was to set up a quality learning environment away from the family and to that end, we installed a garden room, a purpose built wooden cabin away from the house.

So, the clear advantage of bringing a child to me, or to any other tutor who refuses to travel, is that there is a well thought out, well resourced, quality learning space that has been designed for minimal interruptions at the end of the journey. In my classroom, I have a range of textbooks, past papers and accumulated learning materials. I have WiFi and a printer so we have easy access to the internet and I can print and photocopy as we go along. I have stationery, no excuse not to have the right pen, and I dish out plastic wallets to keep work safe. I’m not late, I’m not stressed by being ‘stuck on the M25’, and I can use my time more efficiently to help more children.

The downside is that the parent frequently has to drive the child, and so the inconvenience falls to the family and not the tutor. Finding a tutor who travels may be your priority, but is it really in the best interest of your child?